Life can get stressful. At the moment, my life is full of tests, papers, responsibilities, commitments, and decisions about the future – all stressful. You know what else can be stressful? Making homemade chicken soup. Whenever I was little and got sick or if it was a cold winter night my mom would make chicken soup from scratch. Only now that I’m older, I appreciate all the effort that it takes to make chicken stock from scratch, boiling chicken and bones and veggies… I don’t even know the whole process myself, I only know that I don’t have the time or the skill to recreate what she would prepare with love. Since I can’t have the real thing right now I’ll do the best that I can with my own version – No Stress Chicken Soup (or as my mom likes to call it, Cheater’s Chicken Soup). I promise it’s super easy and will leave you as de-stressed as the real version made from scratch.
No Stress Chicken Soup
Time: 1 hour Serves:4
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, white or yellow
- about 6 chicken tenders (1-1.5 lbs), fresh or frozen
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 2-3 stalks celery
- 3 large carrots
- 4-6 tomatoes
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 zucchini
- 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup white rice (1/4 cup per person)
- Each vegetable is optional. Try to have as many of them as you can, but don’t let missing one stop you (for example, I didn’t happen to have zucchini today and the soup still came great)
- If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use one 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
- If you have fresh parsley instead of dried, use about a handful, chopped up into small pieces
- Instead of rice, you can use pasta in the soup. You can use spaghetti or the more traditional ditalini, depending on what you have.
- For chicken broth I really like pacific organic free range low sodium chicken broth. It’s worth spending a little extra money on a higher quality broth
In your large pot, put 2 tbsp olive oil and bring to medium heat. Dice your onion and add to olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until caramelized (just starting to turn brown). Make sure that the onions don’t stick and burn.
Meanwhile, dice your celery. Once onion is caramelized, add celery and cook for about five minutes or until just starting to get soft.
Move the onion and celery to the edge of the pot, then add your chicken breasts to the middle. When one side is cooked and turns white, flip them over and do the same on the other side. You just want the tenders to seal so that they are cooked on the outside but the inside can still be raw, they’ll be cooking in the broth for a long time. Make sure you clean up all the dishes you touched the raw meat with properly (either in a dishwasher or a sink full of bleach).
Once the chicken is cooked, add the quart of chicken broth. Meanwhile, boil about 2 cups of water, once boiling add to the soup. Dice your tomatoes (or open your can of diced tomatoes) and add to the soup. Bring to a boil. Add your parsley and salt and pepper.
Let boil for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and dice your carrots. After 20-30 minutes or when the celery is soft, add your carrots. Dice your zucchini into pieces the same size as the carrots. Once carrots are soft, add zucchini and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Cook rice in a separate pot (1/4 cup per person). Rice will take 10-15 minutes to cook so plan accordingly. Add a little extra water or better yet, broth from the soup. You want the rice to get a little overcooked and mushy. If you’re using pasta instead, cook it in a separate pot.
Add rice to your bowl, take some chicken and cut it up, then add broth. I like to eat one serving and then freeze the rest to enjoy later.